Startup

SpiderG: Solving the working capital management problems in India’s $3.3 billion market

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Managing cash or cash equivalent is not an easy task, be it in a business or in our personal life. In the business world, it is known as working capital. Every business needs working capital to run its day-to-day trading operations smoothly. The process of managing working capital involves managing inventories, accounts receivable and payable, and cash. The goal of working capital management is to ensure that a firm is able to continue its operations and that it is able to satisfy both maturing short-term debt and upcoming operational expenses. Many business entities fail to manage their working capital efficiently and thus face problems in attaining the business objectives. In order to solve the problems faced by SMEs (Small and medium-sized enterprises) about working capital mismanagement, which arises due to lack of on the go information into one’s own business and its transactions with customers and vendors, SpiderG was formed.

SpiderG and its functionability

The idea of SpiderG, an e-invoicing technology provider for SMEs was born in early 2015, out of the need to solve problems of Indian SMEs related to their invoicing. SpiderG is a B2B tech startup, managed and operated by Gladiris Technologies Pvt. Ltd., based out in Pune.

It is a platform to help SMEs solve their working capital problems. The e-invoicing platform provides a real time visibility of all the current transactions with their customers and vendors through its different features like e-transaction, DoChat, Cash-Cal, Dashboard, Expenses, and Fund Invoice. It also helps SMEs improve their working capital cycle and its management. SpiderG allows the users to create, exchange and process smart invoices, other documents and seamlessly integrate with existing systems like Tally & SAP.

The core features on SpiderG platform can be accessed without any upfront payment as it follows freemium model.  For enterprise software startup like SpiderG, freemium is a potent marketing tool that allows them to scale and attract a user base without spending too much on ad campaigns and deploying a tradition of direct sales force. Free “satisfied” users also act as product evangelists as they refer others to your product and drive traffic.

The user companies need to register with the Invoice Financing Partner(s) first and then have to request for financing invoice by clicking fund invoice button on mobile app or web application. SpiderG will share accepted purchase order and invoice of this transaction with its invoice financing partner(s). After the evaluation is done, invoice financing partner will transfer money to company’s (user company’s) account. The user company will have to pay back the money received as and when it receives cash from the customer.

Evolution of the concept and the brains behind it

This start-up was founded by two youngsters, Ashwani Rathore and Harshal Ingale, with the common aim of bringing about a change in the way big or small organizations conduct business with each other.

The duo started Gladiris Technology in December 2013 and initiated selling an open source Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to small and medium businesses. The company was successful in ERP implementation in over a dozen companies but working with these companies and interaction with entrepreneurs revealed that their certain problems were left unaddressed. Ashwani and Harshal soon realized that the key issues faced by SMEs cannot be solved only through an ERP software alone and after a deep research of six months, they came up with an idea of SpiderG in early 2015.

Team SpiderG with Ashwani Rathore, CEO & Co-Founder & Harshal Ingale, CTO & Co-Founder (3rd and 4th from left)

The CEO & Co-Founder, Ashwani Rathore, successfully ran and sold “Moms Kitchen”, a food e-commerce and aggregator venture prior to SpiderG. With 10 years of experience in IT, Venture capital and Consulting, he served Goldman Sachs and ISB Hyderabad as his latest assignments. He holds a B.Tech degree from National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Allahabad and is an MBA in Finance from Asian Institute of Management, Manila.

Harshal Ingale is CTO & Co-Founder at SpiderG. Prior to SpiderG, he was a Co-Founder at Abstracte Technologies, a semiconductor start-up focused on research and commercialization of advanced VLSI design techniques. With over 9 years of experience in software and design techniques, a large part of his experience is involved in identifying and providing unique technologies for the SME’s. Harshal is an Electronics Engineer from VIT Pune University, and was in 2nd year of engineering, where he researched in VLSI microprocessor designs that produced one of the few working asynchronous microprocessors in the world.

Funding, Revenues, and Growth

So far, the startup has raised $150000 in its funding from Rahul Kirloskar, Pramod Chowdhary, Adi Saravanan, and Pravin Dongre. SpiderG has plans to raise funds $5 million in a pre-Series A round and then go for one more round of funding in the future. The CEO and Co-founder, Ashwani Rathore said that the funds raised would be used primarily for enhancing the existing product and acquiring more customers.

Majority of the features offered by SpiderG is free for now as it focuses on building more tractions and getting businesses used to using the technology. There are a few add-on features like the Dashboard and Cash-Cal that are subscription-based and generate revenue for the startup. Right now, SpiderG is spending close to Rs. 10 lakhs a month without spending anything on marketing.

SpiderG’s objectives for its future:

  1. The company focuses on building more traction and getting businesses used to using the technology, will also have plugins for Oracle and SAP like Tally four months down the line.
  2. The company has planned for 20 roadshows in India.
  3. SpiderG wants to expand its operations in other geographies like US, Philippines and Middle East in coming 2 years.
  4. In the coming 2 years, the startup will be tying up with banks & NBFCs to launch bill discounting (Invoice Financing ).

Apart from this, the founders see SpiderG establishing itself in the league of Google, Facebook or Oracle in 10 years’ time frame. One needs to understand the product clearly to understand its scope. Seeing the success of Google and Facebook through their networking, the team at SpiderG wants to capture the entire SME market and become the Facebook of small businesses.

Competing with its core strength to succeed in the market

SpiderG is the only Indian company dealing in the e-invoicing technology space which is targeting entire section of SMEs irrespective of their business sectors. Other biggest players in the similar industry are Tradeshift, Ariba and Basware. The core strength of the company is its strong human resource which has a perfect blend of soft skills and exposure to the latest technologies in the business sector where it survives.

SpiderG is serving three markets:

  1. SaaS e-invoicing
  2. Invoice financing and Dynamic discounting
  3. Enterprise application integrated market

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As per the startup’s estimation, this is close to $150 billion market globally. But right now it is focusing on SaaS e-invoicing market in India and that is around $ 3.3 billion market.

As far as SpiderG is concerned, technically there are no direct competitors as of now but the startup considers Whatsapp and emails services as its competitor because these are de-facto communication services for SMEs. The list of competitors also includes Facebook and Linkedin. There are ERP and invoicing related solution providers but they are not dedicated to the entire universe of SMEs but for specific segments/sectors. Whereas SpiderG is targeting the entire universe of SMEs across the globe irrespective of their industry/sector by providing completely different value proposition which an existing player provides. The core objective of SpiderG is the formation of a network of business interconnected through e-invoicing technology platform which enables easy transaction and communication. With an aspiration to become a de-facto enterprise application for businesses around the globe and allow other application providers to integrate with it, SpiderG wants to be like what android is for mobile market.

Started in early 2015 with an aim to provide e-invoicing solution to SMEs across the sectors, the startup currently has 400 SMEs in its client serving list and hopes to have 20,000 clients on board by the end of this year.

Advice for budding entrepreneurs

“Do hard work and learn from your mistakes, it will lead to your success” said Ashwani Rathore, CEO and Co-Founder at SpiderG, to the aspiring entrepreneurs.  It is his and his team’s hard work and dedication towards the work that helped him reach this position while dealing with difficult times in the past.

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